Chanel builds a tower, as Karl gets the medal of Paris
They gave Karl Lagerfeld the Grand Vermeil Medal of City of Paris on Tuesday and they should have. For no designer has done more for the glamor and reputation of this city as the capital of fashion than this German couturier.
Fittingly, the setting was right after Chanel’s fall 2017 couture collection. Right underneath an astonishing reproduction, some 50 meters high, of the Eiffel Tower that disappeared into clouds of dry ice under the glass roof of the Grand Palais. All done up with green metal park chairs, beige dirt runway and gray public kiosks.
Though the collection played on Chanel’s traditional love of many things British. It featured acres of sturdy tweed used in everything from curvy chess-piece shaped coats; curvilinear cocktails, suggestive thigh boots, earrings, buttons and even the matching bowler hats, which half the cast wore. Mode à la Magritte. Lagerfeld cut splendid new mini jackets with two lower buttons and wide lapels; and flared skirts, cut right at the knee. Or he re-invented the Chanel jacket with four buttons and paired it with wide gaucho pants. Everything worked.
Though, always moving forward, Lagerfeld had his Chanel atelier in overdrive for evening, concocting some rather fabulous sleeves on ball gowns and cocktails. Some sprouted bunches of cock feathers; others peacock plumes. Whole plumages grew out of shoulders.
At the finale, Lagerfeld marched right underneath the Chanel tower to sustained applause, where the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo greeted him with his honor.
“Your genius permits you to take risks and to transport us into a universe in which you excel. You are an immense talent and a great person who has done so much for our city to make it even more creative, magical and beautiful,” thrilled the mayor.
Responded Karl: “I’m a foreigner and proud of it. And we foreigners see how France really lives. And with the latest changes we have the impression that France has really changed. Everyone wants to come to Paris and live in France and start learning French again. And I find that formidable! When you are not French you see things clearly with an eye disengaged from nationalism and patriotism. And I really want to say Vive La France! Vive Paris! And may the Olympics of 2024 come to Paris!”
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